Many homeowners have previously bought and sold homes. However, selling a senior’s home can be much more complicated, due to the number of unique issues and decisions – and sometimes the number of people involved. Though seniors usually make the decision to sell, it is not uncommon for adult children to help them sort through the issues which come with selling.
A few of these issues include:
- Is moving the best alternative? If so, where? Have those options been explored?
- Are close family members on board with a decision to sell?
- What is the best way to downsize a lifetime’s worth of possessions and family heirlooms?
- What are the tax related implications of a sale?
- What effects might a sale have on future income?
The financial, logistical, and emotional issues involved in a move can be stressed for a family to navigate. Senior parents and their adult children may feel they are in unfamiliar waters as they deal with those questions. Here are a few tips to help selling a senior’s home:
- Plan Ahead – Often families are forced to take on a home sale once crisis has already struck. Mom or dad may suddenly suffer a debilitating ailment and a move becomes imminent. Surely, none of us can foretell the future, but when parents are showing signs of slowing down or experiencing difficulty maintaining their home, medications or finances, it may wise for family members to ask mom and dad about plans for the future. Older adults should begin to ask questions and gather information so they are able to make decisions for their own future, rather than have others make decisions for them.
- Declutter or Stage Your Home – When a home is in disrepair, too dirty or cluttered, buyers may not be able to see beyond the mess to effectively compare the home value to other properties. Chances are downsizing can help improve the appearance of your home, appeal to more buyers and help reduce your moving expenses by eliminating the cost of packing and moving unnecessary items. Downsizing is often part of the “home staging” process. “Staging” is the art of preparing a home for sale so it is more desirable to buyers. It is similar to detailing a car before it is listed for sale.
- Set a Realistic Time Frame – Preparing to leave a home of a lifetime may take months and in some cases, more than a year. Families should take great care when establishing closing and vacancy dates. Although not always possible, a good time frame is usually an 8-10 week window for the relocation process. Typically, the many steps of a successful senior relocation can be completed comfortably in this time frame.
A real estate professional who has experience in senior issues and who can put you in contact with other similarity-trained professionals advisors, can be invaluable to the selling process. Families should also consult with their SRES® realtor to get a handle on market values and recent comps, as well as obtain recommendations for repairs and home staging prior to placing a particular house on the market!